Home to Roost

1985 | United Kingdom

Generation-gap comedy about 18 year old Matthew Willows who, seven years after his parents divorce, turns up on his father Henry's doorstep and announces his intention to live with him. Matthew claims that he can no longer live with his mother because he doesn't get on with her new boyfriend. The truth of the matter is that mum, Sue, threw the youngster out because he was displaying all the annoying traits that his father displayed during their marriage. 

Writer Eric Chappell, whose pen produced the classic Rising Damp, once again turned in four series of sparkling scripts aided and abetted by some fine acting by the main protagonists, Reece Dinsdale as Matthew and the ever excellent and sadly missed John Thaw as Henry. The two men are constantly at loggerheads, being birds of a feather whose personalities often clash head on. There were occasional visits from other members of the Willows family, and Thaw's real-life wife, Sheila Hancock, turned up in one episode as his on-screen ex, but mainly it was down to father and son to provide the laughs. 

The series transferred to the USA as You Again? With Jack (The Odd Couple, Quincy) Klugman in the John Thaw role. The series was not only remarkably faithful to its British counterpart but also starred Elizabeth Bennett as Henry's housekeeper, Enid Tompkins, the same role she'd played in the original (except her surname was Thompson) -the only time an actor had played the same role in different versions of the same sitcom on both sides of the Atlantic. You Again?, made by NBC ran for 26 episodes (just three less than Home To Roost) but wasn't seen until ten years later in the UK in a C5 late night slot.

Published on December 21st, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.

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